Couple of exciting things to link to from last week:
The new year brought with it the chance to reflect on technologies that I see making a splash in the coming year. I’m enthralled by big data and analytics but I’m not a data scientist; likewise, I only see so much value in the wearables themselves, although they’ll certainly feed the big data beast. My list of technologies is strongly influenced by my background in software and devops — without being a list of language or tool features.
I’ve been sitting on my offsite backup upgrade for a long while now and finally decided to pull the trigger this week. I’ve used MozyHome for many years but the Mozy rate hike 6 months back agitated me. Combine this with the fact that, for more money, I’m not even getting the amount of backup I used to get and it was clearly time to move on, even though I’m nowhere near the 18 billion Gigabytes of storage Mozy claims I’m using.
Everybody loves lists of tools. Scott Hanselman’s annual list of Windows tools has been immensely popular over the years and has opened my eyes to a bunch of new tools. The topic of tools has also been the subject of some very popular books, such as Windows Developer Power Tools and Java Power Tools.
I was up at Penn State IST school this past week giving a lecture to a class as part of our recruiting. As part of the class, which was about application integration, I touched on the HTTP protocol. I believe that it’s extremely important that everyone starting out in web application programming or web-based integration have a deep knowledge of the HTTP protocol. Although you should eventually read a book about HTTP and ultimately read the protocol itself, sometimes it’s easier to learn by tinkering. Along these lines, I thought it would be interesting to provide a quick demo of using Fiddler to inspect the HTTP protocol. I’ve included the screencast here. My apologies for the speed of the screencast. I was in a hurry to get it done and it sounds like I had an energy drink of five too many when I did the voice-over.
Outlook plays an important role in my day-to-day work. It’s the one omnipresent desktop application – the first thing I open when I start Windows and sticking around as long as Windows is running. Over the years, I’ve adopted, tailored, and shared several techniques for inbox, to-do list, and archive file management. Even with these techniques, I’m always looking for ways that Outlook can meet me half way and make the task of managing the daily email avalanche a little bit easier.
When ScottGu puts the time into creating a mini-tutorial for a new technology, it’s usually something worth investigating. After seeing his tutorial / overview of the new IIS Search Engine Optimization Toolkit, I decided I ought to give it a look. With the new blog running WordPress on IIS, this seemed especially timely and relevant.
I had long planned the move from the .NET-based DasBlog blogging engine to WordPress but just couldn’t seem to make the time to complete the move. I finally pulled the trigger and cutover to WordPress a couple of weeks ago. The process was not nearly as painful as I imagined and I’m now beginning to reap the rewards of working on a blogging platform that’s more broadly integrated into the Web ecosystem. This blog entry is a collection of the key technical takeaways from my migration. Hopefully they will be helpful for other people looking to migrate to WordPress, especially on the Microsoft IIS platform.
I’ve been busy since returning from vacation on getting my new iMac up and running. Aside from the machine being a physical work of art, it’s also been performing very well and runs so silent that I’m hearing all kinds of new noises in my house that I wasn’t aware of before. This doesn’t mean that I’ve completely forsaken Windows. In fact, the move to the Mac has allowed me to finally move to Vista on my home machine and install Visual Studio 2008, which is killing my work laptop. For those of you remotely familiar with the Mac, running Windows side-by-side with OS X has been possible since the release of the Intel-based Macs. This started with Boot Camp and gained serious traction with the release of Parallels. Most recently, VMware jumped into this space with their Fusion product for the Mac. I went with Fusion due to reviews on both Apple’s site and Amazon.com that seemed to indicate that Fusion was more stable and that there were far more converts from Parallels to Fusion than in the opposite direction.
I’ve posted about how impressed I was with NetBeans as a Java IDE and the incredible progress this product has made in the last couple of years. I knew for a while that Ruby on Rails and JRuby support was coming for the next major Netbeans release (v 6.0), but I hesitated moving from RadRails to NetBeans until the feature set had stabilized. Last week, the Netbeans 6.0 beta was released and, with RadRails stagnating somewhat under the Aptana brand, I caved in and made the switch.